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Nimbin

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Once a small town servicing the farming community, Nimbin shot to stardom in 1973 with the original Aquarius festival. Attracting hippies and alternative types from all over the country, the festival was such a success that many of the participants simply stayed and made Nimbin their home. Although it must be said that all their dreams did not come true, the utopia-seekers of that time have certainly made their mark on Nimbin. Some still seek nirvana through whatever means, while others have become well-established working professionals, or have simply gone bush and make a living from their own resources.

Now a colourful, alternative-lifestyle centre, Nimbin hosts the Hemp Embassy and a Museum that's more a trip down memory lane for aging hippies and those who remember the 60s. A relatively tolerant attitude to soft drugs attracts day-trippers from Byron Bay on daily tour buses. With tourism wealth, Nimbin has revamped its psychedelic 1970s image and basks in its magical mystery tour reputation.

However, Nimbin's not just Lucy in the sky with diamonds, it's on the doorstep of World Heritage national parks, signposted by the towering Nimbin Rocks just outside the town, which are of significant Aboriginal importance. The Bundjalung people who originally inhabited this area are still active and vocal in the town's affairs. Nimbin is said to be the resting place of Warrajum, the Rainbow Serpent, and is known as a place of healing.

On the third Sunday of each month, Nimbin hosts a craft and produce market in the primary school grounds and, in celebration of its alternative nature, the Mardi Grass festival every May. The Spring Arts Festival in October and the School of Arts Autumn Festival complete the seasons' activities, with the farming community showcasing their industry at the Nimbin Agricultural Show in September.

How to get there:

From the Pacific Highway, exit at Bangalow/Lismore and take the road from Bangalow to Lismore. About 14km from Bangalow, you can turn right towards Rocky Creek Dam and Dunoon and follow the signs to Nimbin; or continue to Lismore, cross the river and follow the signs north-west to Nimbin. Either way, it will take around 40 minutes from the highway.

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